Implant Dentistry

Dental implants are not new, but it’s only in the last 15 years or so that it became popular in Singapore. Most implant systems come in 2 parts – one part that is surgically placed in bone, supporting the other part that holds the crown of tooth. The part that goes into the bone is the part that will replace the root of the missing tooth. The part that sits on top of that replaces the the crown of the tooth. The entire “tooth” can stand alone without the support of other teeth. It is thus the ultimate tooth replacement procedure.

Most implant restorations are completed in 2 stages. The first stage is a surgical operation in which a titanium screw, also known as the fixture, is placed into the jaw bone.

After the implant is placed in the bone, the gum flap is stitched over the opening and the bone is allowed to grow around the implant and hold it in place. From 4:20 onwards in the video which takes place two months later, the implant is exposed and a large screw protruding above the gum is placed over it. This prepares the gums to receive the crown.

After a week or so in 4:52, the implant position is captured with an impression material loaded onto an impression tray. You can skip the lab work and jump to 8:29. The crown is fabricated in the lab with the implant position in the mouth captures by the impression. The crown is either cemented to an abutment attached to the fixture or held over the fixture with a screw. The lost tooth is thus restored.

Above is a challenging implant restoration case done by Dr Chan. The holes are screw access points to the underlying implants. The holes will be sealed after the replacement teeth have been screwed into the implants. In the event that the screws come loose, the dentist can easily access the screws and do some tightening.

While implants may be the ideal form of tooth replacement for people with good oral hygiene, they can be lost in much the same way that natural teeth can be lost – gum disease. Too often, people disappear from the dental office after their teeth have been restored and they neglect maintenance until it’s too late. How long do they last? Nobody can tell. In some cases, they last a lifetime. In some cases, they only last a few years.